Canadian mining companies with operations abroad need to be more heavily regulated at home, says a recent letter from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (C.C.C.B.) addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“We, as Canadians, are among the privileged,” the letter says. “We cannot remain indifferent to the cry of the poor or to the repercussions of environmental degradation on our common home. We cannot accept the unethical way Canadian mining companies have been operating in Latin America or other regions of the world, taking the absence of effective regulatory schemes as a reason to shirk their ethical responsibilities.”
Written by Most Rev. Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., the bishop of Hamilton and president of the C.C.C.B., the letter was also sent to Canadian officials Chrystia Freeland, the minister of foreign affairs; James Gordon Carr, the minister of natural resources; and Carolyn Bennett, the minister of indigenous and Northern affairs.
“It is well known that the control, extraction, processing and trade of these resources finance armed groups whose exploitation of power hinders and endangers vulnerable populations,” says the letter. “We have heard stories of how threats, violence, extortion and even murder have been used to advance the progress of big business and industry to the detriment—both human and economic—of the poor.”
Talking about the motivation for the letter, Bishop Crosby told America that the exploitation of land, indigenous peoples and poor communities carried out by Canadian mining companies “has been on the radar for a few years, and this is just raising the issue one more time.”